Canada has a rich history of innovation, but in the next few decades, powerful technological forces will transform the global economy. Large multinational companies have jumped out to a headstart in the race to succeed, and Canada runs the risk of falling behind. At stake is nothing less than our prosperity and economic well-being. The FP set out to explore what is needed for businesses to flourish and grow. Over the next three months, we’ll talk to some of the innovators, visionaries and scientists on the cutting edge of the new cutthroat economy about a blueprint for Canadian success. You can find all of our coverage here.
Gentrification. Job loss. Toxic cultures. Data breaches. Tech — at least as commonly discussed in the media — has been difficult to love as of late.
In Canada and beyond, tech has acquired an image problem that’s part of its own making. It’s increasingly seen as an elitist, self-serving sector reserved for brash engineers and fly-by-night startups with little regard for societal values such as personal privacy, civil conversation or even children’s mental health.
When it’s not exploiting user data, tech is deepening social divides and making good manufacturing jobs redundant, all the while lobbying the government for handouts — or so the argument goes. It’s no wonder, so many Canadians regard tech with a heavy dose of suspicion.
As the chief executive of a technology company, I’ve seen this perception build as I’ve grown my business in Kitchener, Ont., and here’s the thing: it’s not entirely unjustified. Elements of these critiques are real, but others are dead wrong.
What I’ve come to realize is that separating myth from fact is of paramount importance to the Canadian economy. Canada’s tech sector is in desperate need of a rebrand because the misunderstandings and misconceptions surrounding our digital industries are killing our economic potential to move ahead as a nation.
Edited for ILSTV